Images emerge of girl, 13, and her 12-year-old brother ‘decapitated by their personal trainer father’
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr. faces two felony counts each of murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death
Taylor , 34, is accused of fatally stabbing his re-teen son Maurice Taylor Jr., and his teenage daughter, Maliaka Taylor, inside their home in Lancaster, California on Nov 29
Lancaster mayor, R. Rex Parris, confirmed both victims were decapitated
Both parents were in the home when law enforcement arrived on Friday morning
Video shows the personal fitness trainer being taken into custody on a stretcher in Lancaster Friday
His other two boys, age 8 and 9, were allegedly shown their siblings’ bodies and forced to stay in their bedrooms for days without food, prosecutors said
A Southern California father of four has been charged with decapitating his teenage daughter, 13, and 12-year-old son and abusing his two other boys, prosecutors said.
Maurice Jewel Taylor Sr., 34, faces two felony counts each of murder and child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney´s Office announced Tuesday.
Taylor is charged with fatally stabbing Maurice, 12, and his older sister, Maliaka, 13, on November 29 in Lancaster. It was five days before their bodies were found, according to reports.
Through the ordeal his other two boys, ages eight and nine, were allegedly shown their siblings’ bodies and forced to stay in their bedrooms without food, prosecutors said.
Friends have since set up a GoFundMe to raise money for the family, writing: ‘As you can only imagine there is nothing but shock right now.’ It has raised more than $1,900 as of Thursday morning.
The fund raiser describes the children’s grandmother Debra ‘Gowin’ Brothwell having complained for a while about being ‘separated from her grandkids’ lives by a controlling son-in-law.’
Apparently in the past few years she had made pleas for any information, any knowledge, any information that she could find to know that her grandchildren were okay.
Maurice Taylor Sr. is scheduled to be arraigned December 21.
Taylor worked at a physical therapy center in Santa Monica but had been conducting training sessions online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of his clients contacted authorities following his continued absence from scheduled appointments, leading to the discovery of the bodies.
Authorities made the gruesome discovery while responding to reports of a possible gas leak at a property on the 45000 block of Century Circle, where children were found in separate bedrooms with lacerations and stab wounds.
Both parents were in the home when law enforcement arrived on Friday morning. The two younger children and their mother were found in the home, unharmed.
Footage from the arrest showed the personal fitness trainer being taken into custody, restrained on a stretcher by Lancaster police.
Taylor was arrested for double-homicide and ordered held in lieu of $4.2 million bail. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 57 years to life in state prison.
Taylor was a personal trainer at a Santa Monica physical therapy and fitness center but was now holding sessions over Zoom due to the pandemic, but what made him snap?
It is unknown what motivated the alleged attack and the incident remains under investigation, however, Taylor’s personal training clients told the LA Times they had grown concerned over his well-being earlier in the week.
Described by clients as ‘mellow’ and ‘reliable’, the absence of the fitness trainer from scheduled zoom sessions sparked concerns.
Howard Kern, who had taken personal training sessions with Taylor for about seven years, told the LA Times that he reported the gas leak Friday morning, leading the fire department to find the bodies.
‘I said: “I’m concerned”. We are concerned about a possible gas leak. There are four children and two adults – and we’re concerned about their safety,’ Kern told the paper.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department was called to the home at around 7.50am.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said both victims had been decapitated and described the scene as ‘brutal’.
‘LA County Sheriff’s deputies responded out to the location and saw that there were two individuals inside, both very young, possibly in their teenage years, deceased,’ Lt. Dean told reporters at the scene Friday morning.
‘One appears to be a male, one appears to be a female, possibly suffering from some type of a sharp trauma, either stabbing or slicing device.’
Dean said there was no sign of a gas leak at the property.
‘It doesn’t seem to be that the cause of death from the two people inside have anything to do with a gas leak,’ he said.
Another client said she had also contacted the Sheriff’s Department days earlier on Tuesday when Taylor failed to show for a session.
She knew something was wrong when he didn’t send a Zoom link for a session and then didn’t show up at the allotted time, this client said.
Kern said he worried that Taylor ‘was living under a tremendous amount of pressure’ having lived and worked on his own since he was 18 and being in a marriage Kern described as ‘contentious’.
He would often hear Kern on the phone to his wife at the gym and hear ‘her yelling at him’.
‘He’d be very apologetic and she’d be yelling at him,’ said Kern.
He described him as the ‘nicest person that you know, then multiply that by five’.
‘He worked so hard to support himself. Unfortunately, we don’t know enough to say what happened or what didn’t happen.’
Mayor Parris said he believes the fallout from the pandemic had created a stressful environment.
‘What I’m seeing is more and more people feeling desperate, and that can only have one result,’ he said, according to the Times.